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US appeals court suspends ban on Apple watch sales

Apple Watch Series 9

Apple has received permission to partly resume sales of its $18 billion smartwatch business.

A US appeals court temporarily lifted a federal agency's import ban on certain models of the Apple Watch. 

The US International Trade Commission had imposed the ban in October due to patent violations against the electronics company Masimo.

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It affected the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 models. 

Sales of these models have now restarted in stores.

Apple is also seeking approval from US Customs and Border Protection for redesigned versions of the banned watch models, with a decision expected on January 12. 

The technical fixes aim to comply with the trade agency's findings.

It will potentially allow the watches to be sold in the US again. 

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The dispute revolves around a pulse oximeter, a patented sensor measuring blood oxygen levels, with Masimo accusing Apple of patent infringement.

The Apple Watch constitutes a small fraction of Apple's overall revenue, around 5 percent of the $383 billion in fiscal 2023.

However, it holds significant importance in the company's expanding health initiatives. 

According to Counterpoint Research, Apple remains the dominant smartwatch vendor, accounting for 30 percent of all smartwatches shipped and nearly 60 percent of total global sales.

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The legal battle between Apple and Masimo involves allegations of technology copying and an aggressive legal strategy by Apple in response to intellectual property claims. 

Masimo claims that Apple abandoned early partnership discussions and hired its engineers, replicating similar technology independently. 

Apple denies these accusations, asserting that its use of the patent system is fair and consistent with industry practices.

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